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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Just one more step

For his eyes are on the ways of a man, and he sees all his steps. (Job 34:21 ESV)

While considering this morning's passage, it brought to mind by an East Indian poet by the name of Rabindranath Tagore: "You can't cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water." The steps of a man are always in the sight of the Almighty - even when all he is doing is standing and pondering what it would be like to "get across" to the next place he'd like to be! The eye of man takes in the water in front of him, but God knows the passage safely through that water to the other side. Confucius said, "When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps." While not all our goals are exactly what God would have for us, in adjusting the "action steps" we take toward those goals, it often becomes apparent the ones which he never intended to have us pursue in the first place! As we ponder our next steps, we might do well to ponder if they are the specific ones God would have us take!

God's eyes are on the ways of a man - not just his steps, but also those times when we are just pondering the next step to take, or the vastness of the sea before us. He isn't just watchful of those steps, he has prepared a way for all of those steps to be taken with his care continually over our lives as we do - even when those steps are not specifically in the direction he'd have wanted us to take! That may seem a little hard to believe, but God's doesn't take his eyes off of us, nor does he remove his care over our lives just because we take a wrong step or two. Some may think he somehow leaves us to our own devices, but even in allowing us the autonomy to choose our own way, he continues to place specific "pondering moments" at the seaside of life to help us to see the journey we are facing if we continue on that path.

Someone once said it is not enough to just stare up the steps - we have to step up each step if we are to ever make it to the top. The truth is we don't always want to make the climb. We find the steps out of where we have gotten ourselves into a bit more daunting than the steps into that place seemed to be! That is when we stop and consider just how hard a climb it is "out" - but be assured of this - what is at the top of the stairs is much different than what we wallow in at the bottom. The steps are not taken by pondering - they are taken when we put for the effort to actually make the climb. God does the work of redeeming us from our sinfulness, but he also requires us to do more than just stare at the steps. He wants us to put forth the effort to climb each one - not two or three at a time, but one by one.

I have never been to the Statue of Liberty, but I hear the climb to the crown deck is somewhere around 400 steps. That is a lot of steps, my friend, but nothing compared to the nearly 900 steps required to ascend the Washington Monument. Does one outweigh the other in significance or splendor? Not really. They are both monuments. They are both symbolic of something significant. One just "out-steps" the other! Some of life's journeys are 400 steps, others are a much harder ascent, but all of these journeys are taken one step at a time! Just sayin!